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Why Many People Have Gallstones (and My Experience Doing a Gallbladder Flush)


The gallbladder is our organ that stores and concentrates bile, releasing it as needed when we eat fat. Bile emulsifies fat for proper fat digestion and metabolism.

A common health issue of the gallbladder is gallstones, which are stone-like, crystalline formations made of calcium and cholesterol that form in the gallbladder. They can vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. According to the National Institute of Health, over 25 million Americans have gallstones.

The two main types of gallstones are those made of cholesterol and stones made of bilirubin, caused by the destruction of red blood cells and too much bilirubin in the bile.

Common Causes of Gallstones

Several factors can contribute to the development of gallstones, including:

  • Toxin, pesticide, and chemical accumulation in the body
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Birth control, estrogen dominance, Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Chronic stress
  • Low-fiber diet/processed foods
  • Low stomach acid production
  • Obesity
  • Rapid weight loss, low-fat diets
  • Poor-quality fats and rancid oils (inflammatory seed/vegetable oils)
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Leaky gut
  • Both hyper and hypothyroidism
  • Parasites like liver flukes are often present with stones

Symptoms and Complications of Gallstones

If gallstones block the bile ducts in the biliary tract, inhibiting the release and flow of bile, they can cause a gallbladder attack. What do gallstones feel like? They are characterized by side effects such as pain in the upper right abdomen, pain at the top right of the shoulder blade or in between the shoulder blades, nausea, vomiting, and pain with breathing. Symptoms tend to be worse after meals or at night.

While most gallstones don’t actually cause blockages and are painless, it’s important to note that most people do not have symptoms of gallstones until they have actual complications.

Gallbladder removal surgery due to a gallbladder attack is extremely common, with over 600,000 performed each year. But the good news is there is something proactive we can do at home to avoid this, which is to perform a gallbladder flush or cleanse to remove gallstones from the gallbladder.

Common Risk Factors for Gallstones

  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop gallstones than men, especially during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes.
  • Age: Gallstones become more common with age, particularly in people over 40.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing gallstones, as excess body weight can lead to higher levels of cholesterol in bile, which can contribute to stone formation.
  • Rapid weight loss: Losing weight too quickly, such as through crash dieting or bariatric weight loss surgery, can increase the risk of gallstones. When the body metabolizes fat during rapid weight loss, it releases substances that can lead to gallstone formation.
  • Diet: A diet high in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber can increase the risk of gallstones. Conversely, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may lower the risk.
  • Family history: Having a family history of gallstones increases the likelihood of developing them.
  • Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups, such as Native Americans and Mexican Americans, have a higher prevalence of gallstones.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain blood disorders, can increase the risk of gallstones.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as those containing estrogen (such as hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills) and cholesterol-lowering drugs, may increase the risk of gallstones.

It’s essential to note that while these common risk factors for gallstones can increase the risk of developing gallstones, not everyone with these risk factors will necessarily develop them. Additionally, some people may develop gallstones without any apparent risk factors.

My Experience with a Gallbladder Flush

Now that you’ve learned about gallstones, you may be feeling curious or inclined to try a gallbladder flush. But it sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it? I completely understand if you’re wondering how involved it is, or if it hurts. These were questions that I was asking myself prior to doing my own gallbladder flush for the first time. So let me share my experience to empower you with the knowledge that not only is it relatively easy, it’s also painless. And it works!

The entire process takes 7 days, but the actual flush happens on the last day. The days prior to that are just preparation.

The way I prepped for my flush was by drinking at least 1 cup of apple juice daily and eating 2 apples per day. The reason this is important is that the malic acid in apples and apple juice will help to soften the gallstones, making them easier to pass. I also added in a healthy green smoothie during this time (this isn’t mandatory, but I used apples and apple juice in the smoothie, and that helped me meet my daily intake). In case you’d like to do the same, this is what went into my green smoothie:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 apple (I used Granny Smith, which is higher in malic acid)
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ inch ginger root
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A handful of sprouts
  • A handful of parsley
  • A handful of basil
  • 1 cup of apple juice

During this time, I also started reducing my fat intake. Here it can be helpful to read labels if you’re not sure if something has fat in it. Normally, I am a fan of healthy fats, but keep in mind that during the few days leading up to the flush, you want to keep your fat intake low so bile is able to accumulate in the gallbladder, enough that it will release during the flush with a cleansing effect.

So I avoided things like cheese, nuts, nut butters, creamy sauces, avocados, butter, and oils. Instead, I opted for lean protein, fruit, veggies, and carbs. I also took the supplement Super Phosphozyme Plus by Biotics Research (25 drops, twice daily in water). This helps dissolve gallstones, making them smaller and easier to pass. It tastes like concentrated lemon juice.

On the 6th day, I didn’t take any supplements except the Super Phosphozyme, and I stopped eating at 2 pm. It’s important not to eat or drink anything (except water) after this time.

At 6 pm, I mixed 1 tbsp of plain Epsom salts into ¾ cup of water and drank it. I won’t lie, it tastes pretty awful. It reminded me of when I was sick as a kid and my mom would give me the Alka Seltzer Plus drink. I added some lemon juice to make it more palatable, but my best advice is to just chug it and then rinse your mouth out with water. Thankfully, the taste doesn’t linger long. You’ll drink the same amount again at 8 pm. Don’t skip it, as this is what helps flush out the gallstones easily!

At 9:45 pm, after I had gotten all ready for bed, I went to the kitchen and juiced 2 pink grapefruits (you want at least ½ cup of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, ideally ¾ cup), and you mix this with ½ cup of olive oil. I used a mason jar, sealed the lid, and shook well until they were completely mixed (only fresh grapefruit juice will do this). Then I went to my room, drank my potion (which honestly was quite refreshing after the Epsom salts), and immediately laid down in bed.

This is key! You want to lay down on your back immediately after drinking; otherwise, you might not get the stones out. Lay on your back and try to keep still for at least 20 minutes and go to sleep.

I could tell my gallbladder was very active. The concoction of grapefruit juice and olive oil is what causes it to release a lot of bile at once, causing the flush. There was no pain and no cramping, but you can feel an awareness of something happening.

The following morning, I woke up and drank the Epsom salts again. I went to the bathroom and had my first bowel movement-nothing yet! I felt totally fine, but a little tired, so I went back to bed. 2 hours later, I drank the last dose of Epsom salt.

Shortly after, I had another bowel movement, and this time-stones!! They’re easy to spot as they’re round and they float. They’re either a pea-green color or yellow. Mine ranged from the size of a grain of rice to the size of a chickpea (this was a bit shocking to see, but as I mentioned, completely painless).

Throughout the day, I went to the bathroom about hourly, passing stones about 4-5 more times. I actually wasn’t very hungry the whole time. I began rehydrating with water and coconut water. Then I had a glass of apple juice, followed by some berries. Then I made another green smoothie and ate a little popcorn in the afternoon. For dinner, I had turkey wings with potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, and I felt like my digestion was back to normal. Overall, I’d say it was totally worth it!

What Do Gallstones Feel Like?

If you’re experiencing symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, you may be wondering, “What do gallstones feel like?” Gallstone pain is often described as a sharp, cramping pain in the upper right abdomen that may radiate to the back or right shoulder. The pain may worsen after eating, particularly after consuming high-fat meals. In some cases, gallstones may cause a dull, constant ache in the abdomen.

It’s important to note that not all gallstones cause symptoms, and many people may have gallstones without even realizing it.

Gallbladder Flush Instructions

Days 1-5:

  • Drink 1-3 cups of apple juice per day
  • Eat 1-2 apples per day (or take a malic acid supplement)
  • Take 25 drops of Super Phosphozyme Plus, twice daily
  • Optional – make a green smoothie with apples and apple juice
  • Start reducing fat intake, eat no fat on days 5 and 6

Day 6:

  • 2 pm – stop eating and drinking! (just water is ok)
  • 6 pm – mix 1 tbsp of Epsom salts with ¾ cup of water and drink (may add lemon juice for taste and to prevent nausea)
  • 8 pm – mix 1 tbsp of Epsom salts with ¾ cup of water and drink (may add lemon juice for taste)
  • 9:45 pm – make sure you’re all ready for bed. Then prepare your concoction of ½ cup of olive oil and ¾ cup of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Put in a mason jar and shake well until completely mixed.
  • 10 pm – drink your concoction and then immediately lie down on your back and go to sleep

Day 7 – the flush (ideally on a day when you can stay home and rest):

  • Upon awakening the next morning, mix 1 tbsp of Epsom salts with ¾ cup of water and drink. Don’t do this before 6 am.
  • 2 hours later – mix 1 tbsp of Epsom salts with ¾ cup of water and drink for the final time
  • 2 hours later, you may start eating and drinking again, but start slow. Start with fruit juice, then a little fruit. An hour later, you may eat food, but keep it light. By dinner, you should be recovered.

If you pass stones, it is recommended to repeat the gallbladder flush once a month until no more stones come out. This will help you achieve optimal health and protect your gallbladder.

Gallbladder Support Supplement

If you’re experiencing gallbladder discomfort or want to support your gallbladder health, consider trying Gallbladder Liver Meridian Opener by DesBio. This homeopathic product helps you find temporary relief from headaches, bloating, abdominal pain, nasal obstruction, and other symptoms that may occur when your liver and gallbladder become overwhelmed.


Gallstones are a common health issue that can cause discomfort and lead to complications if left untreated. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and natural remedies for gallstones, you can take proactive steps to support your gallbladder health. If you’re wondering what gallstones feel like, pay attention to symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, particularly after consuming high-fat meals.

Performing a gallbladder flush can be an effective way to remove gallstones and promote optimal gallbladder function. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new health regimen, and consider using supportive supplements like Gallbladder Liver Meridian Opener by DesBio to help alleviate gallbladder-related symptoms.